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Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Goodbye, My Love
I’m a bit slow on the uptake, the title refers, I think to Ted’s loss of his ability to love. Why doesn’t he want to find his niece? He also listens to the ‘crazy, empty silences’, as his great-nephew will do in the future. He contemplates the silence at Pimpeii ‘How could so much devastation have been silenced?’ Is he also questioning the state of his marriage? When he withdrew from his wife ‘it gave him a feeling of having dismantled a perilous apparatus that might have crushed them both’. He’s remote from his children, too ‘That fake ‘Dad’ voice’ his son accuses him of. Again the theme of time ‘There’s no time’, said Alfred. ‘Time is running out’. I feel that by shutting everyone out of his life, he can concentrate on the one thing that he considers important to him – Art. He locks himself in his room and describes his sons as ‘ghostly feral creatures drinking from a pond in moonlight, their bare feet digging at the carpet . . .’ He recalls Sasha as a lovely bewitching little girl, brought up in fraught and very violent circumstances, a girl who later turned to drugs, shoplifting and suicide attempts in her adolescence. He had been very fond of her. He seems to find a correlation between his marriage and that of Orpheus and Eurydice ‘He sensed between them an understanding too deep to articulate: the unspeakable knowledge that everything is lost’. He had been dreading the encounter with Sasha. ‘He should have hugged her right away. Now it felt too late’. He had adored and protected Sasha as a small child, and felt unable to protect her properly, and was horribly wounded when, at the end of the summer, she barely glanced at him to say goodbye. He interpreted this as Sasha not caring, but she obviously did, because she remembered everything about his home and children years later. Maybe this explains his reluctance to accept any closeness with his wife and children? I love the description of the area near the restaurant ‘In the dusk, a chorus line of palm trees vamped against a Bellini sky’. Sound and Art interest him, his dissertation was an argument that ‘Cezanne’s distinctive brushstrokes were an effort to represent sound – namely in his summer landscapes, the hypnotic chant of locusts’. Sasha and Ted are very alike; both somehow aloof from the world, and Ted surprises them both by wrenching her hand to view her suicide scars. I think this is the moment he starts to reattach himself to the real world and people. ‘He cleaved to Sasha. But she was gone, that little girl. Gone with the passionate boy who had loved her. When Sasha steals Ted’s wallet, he is seized ‘with an immediacy that was the perfect inverse of his prior shirking’. It was not the wallet that was important, but Sasha. He even walks past the building holding the Orpheus and Eurydice which had so entranced him the day before. Again, identity is denied when Sasha says ‘That wasn’t me …That was a friend of mine.’ This seems to happen frequently in the book. Ted had left his wife go, but is determined to regain Sasha. We are told that he does divorce his wife, but continues a good relationship with Sasha and her children in the future.
_________________ Life's a glitch and then you die - The Simpsons
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